Here in the United States, the call center industry is regarded as a first mover in the mass migration to offshore. This migration has moved from concept, to idea, to mega-trend in a matter of decades. In the last few years another concept has come to rival the offshore call center: online customer service.
Companies like Desk.com, Zendesk, UserVoice and others have cropped up to automate customer support systems through triggers, forums and client relationship management (CRM) plugins. What was once an office of employees fielding frustrated customer support calls is now a database full of automated emails. Alongside this rise in automated ticketing systems, we have seen a shift and increase in consumer expectation. Forrester Research reports that channel usage rates are also quickly changing: we’ve seen a 12 percent rise in web self-service usage, a 24 percent rise in chat usage, and a 25 percent increase in community usage for customer service in the past three years.
In short, the demand for dedicated customer support is growing into unknown territory, which begs the question: without training a call center, how do you offer the same accuracy of information and timely responses that a customer is accustomed to? There is no clear answer. But it helps to take these five steps when vetting a software-as-a-service (SaaS) or crowdsourced platform for customer support:
Certain companies have gotten this right from the start. MailChimp, an email service provider whose motto is “Listen Hard. Change Fast.” is a leading example of a company embracing the automated ticketing system. Without a phone line, MailChimp anticipates exactly what their clients are looking for before their clients have issues. Their extensive database of articles, clean user interface, and streamlined email ticketing system, make for a good experience that is customer-centric.
Ryan Frankel is the CEO of VerbalizeIt, a company that delivers real-time access to human translators to make sure that nothing is ever lost in translation. VerbalizeIt empowers businesses and travelers with the ability to translate a document, audio or video file, or connect with a live translator any time of day, anywhere in the world and from any device or application.